Quick Tips for Managing Quality in Outsourced Accounting Teams
Every business is subject to human error, and small mistakes left unnoticed can produce significant losses in time and labor. Managing quality isn’t easy. Every outsourced accounting company should be proactive about team management, and these quick tips will offer you some insight on how the best outsourced accounting teams manage quality.
Establish Quality Standards Early
Make expectations clear from the very beginning of the project. Every outsourced accounting team has its own processes and workflows, and while professionals should be free to work on their own terms, you’ll need to be the “control tower” that guides their actions. Some key aspects to review include:
- What conditions of cancellation might apply?
- What type of deadlines are we working with?
- What is the specific scope of the service provided?
- Which accounting methods will be used?
- Which tech tools will the company use?
These are crucial parts of the firm-wide process standardization and should be lined out well in your pre-project service-level agreement (SLA). Get ahead of these issues early so teams on both sides of the fence know what to expect.
Internal Quality Standards
Service-level agreements establish quality standards with clients, but what about with your team? Standard operating procedures (SOP) are essentially a “how-to” guide for producing consistent, high-quality work.
Every firm should have detailed SOPs in place for all projects including management of charts of accounts, balance sheet schedules and client communication. If processes are standardized for the entire firm, you won’t have to worry as much about inconsistency or low-quality work across teams, despite employee turnover. When processes are written, it’s easy for everyone to be on the same page, literally.
Aim for Transparent Processes
Most small business owners seem to agree: efficiency is a key driver of outsourcing. Efficiency alone doesn’t mean much without transparency behind it. Your outsourced team might drive results—but how it gets those results is just as important.
Much of this will come down to the expectations in your SLA. What type of visibility do you want? How frequently should the team run reports? Will you need to appoint an in-house representative to review the team’s work each month? When dealing with money, it’s always better to lean towards more transparency.
You’ll need to work these strategies into your outsourced team’s workflows and your own internal processes, but once you do, it’ll pay dividends in accuracy and accountability.
Push for Collaboration Across Teams
Collaboration guarantees quality in outsourced work. Again, these expectations will play into both the project details outlined in your technical documents as well as how transparent each team’s processes are.
Most outsourced accounting teams separate workflows among team members based on specific skillsets. What this means for managing quality is that several people will have their fingers in many different projects. There needs to be some way to coordinate these efforts. Modern accounting platforms (like our newly-released Genie, for example) can facilitate this coordination, but managers will need to be the ones taking ownership of the process.
Once you’ve clearly outlined project work expectations, transparency, and collaboration, you’ll have a good foundation for managing any volume of outsourced work and producing consistently high-quality results.
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